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Mugabe Has No Intention Of Sharing Power

Wall Street Journal

August 20, 2008; Page A17

Negotiations held under the auspices of the Southern African Development
Community have thus failed to achieve a "power-sharing" agreement between
Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
According to some reports, the proposed accord, drafted by South African
President Thabo Mbeki, would split executive powers between Mugabe and Mr.
Tsvangirai, grant immunity to regime officials guilty of human-rights
abuses, and give control over the military and Reserve Bank to Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party.

Some in the West might welcome such an accord as a reprieve from months of
turbulence, but history shows that sharing power just isn't something Mugabe

Following his March 29 defeat to Mr. Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), Mugabe unleashed the full force of the state against his
opponents, killing over 100 people and torturing and displacing untold more.
In June, he suspended outside humanitarian aid to his starving subjects.

Later that month, he held a sham "runoff election" in which Mr. Tsvangirai
refused to compete. Fearful for his life, the opposition leader spent a week
holed up in the Dutch Embassy. Abandoned by African heads of state and the
West, he had little choice but to enter negotiations.

It should never have come to this. This sorry situation is the fruit of the
international community's abandonment of Zimbabwe's beleaguered democrats.

The events of the past few months echo those of nearly 30 years ago, when
Zimbabwe was a rebellious British colony called Rhodesia. In April 1979,
three million blacks (64% of the native population) voted in the country's
first multiracial election in hopes of putting an end to its brutal civil
war between the white-led government and black liberation groups. After five
days of balloting, the black Methodist bishop Abel Muzorewa was duly elected
prime minister of the newfangled Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.

Under the plan agreed to by the white government and moderate black leaders,
whites would get 28 out of 100 parliamentary seats and retain control over
some government agencies for 10 years. This was hardly a perfect compromise,
but Zimbabwe-Rhodesia's "internal settlement" offered the best opportunity
to end white supremacy and establish multiracial democracy.

Mugabe, the Chinese-funded, Marxist-Leninist guerilla leader, threatened to
kill anyone who participated in that election. Militias led by him and
Joshua Nkomo of the Zimbabwe African People's Union killed 10 people. While
he claimed that the "internal settlement" was a "bourgeois" swindle, Mugabe
really wanted to rule the country by force.

In solidarity with Mugabe and Nkomo, the administration of President Jimmy
Carter refused to send election observers. Two weeks after Mr. Muzorewa was
elected, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for the
administration to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, which President
Carter ignored.

Today, the world is once again allowing Mugabe to get away with murder.
After Zimbabwe's most recent electoral sham, there was the requisite outcry
from the "international community." But when Great Britain and the U.S.
tried to push relatively tame sanctions through the U.N. Security Council
last month, the measure was vetoed by Russia and China.

As for Mr. Mbeki's proposed "power-sharing" scheme, we've read this story
before. Not long after taking power nearly 30 years ago, Mugabe jailed Mr.
Muzorewa on trumped up charges of treason. In 1984, he deployed North
Korean-trained troops to kill 20,000 members of his erstwhile comrade
Nkomo's minority Ndbele tribe. Four years later he shut down Nkomo's ZAPU
and transformed Zimbabwe into a one-party state.

We can't let this kind of thing happen again. The West must continue to make
any future nonhumanitarian aid to Zimbabwe contingent upon the recognition
of the March election, the end of Mugabe's control over the government and
military, and the full restoration of the rule of law and human rights. The
U.S. can bypass Mr. Mbeki and work with true allies of Zimbabwean democracy
like Botswana and Zambia to help end Mugabe's rule. Mr. Bush should
officially welcome Mr. Tsvanigirai in a Rose Garden ceremony as the duly
elected president of Zimbabwe, and recognize his MDC as a government in

Mugabe and his generals have no interest in "sharing" power, never mind
giving it up. Any agreement that gives significant political control to
Mugabe would betray all the Zimbabweans who risked their lives for

Mr. Kirchick, who has reported from Zimbabwe, is an assistant editor of The
New Republic.

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Recall of parliament threatens Zimbabwe talks

The Telegraph

Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party raised the pressure on the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, announcing that it would convene parliament
next week, potentially heralding the final breakdown of their negotiations.

By Sebastien Berger Southern Africa Correspondent
Last Updated: 11:25PM BST 19 Aug 2008

The calling of the legislature, elected on March 29, has been on hold
pending the outcome of talks between the two sides. With the negotiations
deadlocked on their relative powers in a proposed government of national
unity, Robert Mugabe's move could see the process ending without a deal
being reached.

"The swearing in would take place on Monday or Tuesday to enable new
legislators to execute [the] mandate they were given by the people," Austin
Zvoma, a parliamentary clerk, told state television.

Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding governing the
negotiations, neither side is supposed to "take any decisions or measures
that have a bearing on the agenda save by consensus [including] the
convening of parliament or the formation of a new government".

The MDC said last night it did not object to calling parliament, but under
the constitution a cabinet is supposed to be formed once the legislature is

"If he goes further and appoints a cabinet, it will be against the letter
and spirit of the MOU," said a party spokesman, Tapiwa Mashakada.

Mr Tsvangirai's party has 100 seats in the lower house, Zanu-PF 99, and a
smaller MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara holds the balance of power with
10 seats. There is one independent.

But in Zimbabwe's existing power framework, the presidency is in a position
to dominate parliament.

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Mugabe 'working behind scenes' to outflank MDC

20 August 2008

Dumisani Muleya

Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe is trying to cut a political
deal with opposition MPs behind the scenes while his rival Morgan Tsvangirai
is mustering support in the region to pressure him to accept a power-sharing

Mugabe's move to wrest power is being plotted under the guise of
convening a new parliament and could further jeopardise negotiations for a
unity government, which have already stalled.

President Thabo Mbeki is expected to travel to Harare sometime
this week to try to break the negotiations deadlock.

Sources said Mugabe lobbied Southern African Development
Community (SADC) leaders at the weekend to allow him to convene parliament
without violating the memorandum of understanding between Zanu (PF) and the
two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions which set out the
parameters for negotiations.

The memorandum says parliament should not sit while the
negotiations take place.

SADC leaders said in their communique that Zimbabwe should
convene its parliament while the talks are proceeding.

The MDC led by Tsvangirai objected to this, saying it would
undermine the talks.

However, yesterday the MDC said it was not opposed to the
opening of parliament, but would reject any attempt by Mugabe to appoint a
cabinet before an agreement was reached.

Sources said Tsvangirai's faction fears that Mugabe is trying to
make secret deals with enough MPs to give him the 106 majority needed to
form a new government.

Zanu (PF) won 99 seats, the main MDC 100 and the MDC faction led
by Arthur Mutambara, 10 seats.

A new parliament would be convened next week, clerk of
parliament Austin Zvoma confirmed yesterday.

The new parliament would be convened amid criticism that Mugabe's
position is not only illegitimate but may also be unconstitutional.

Constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said last night Mugabe's
presidency might be unlawful.

"The constitution says the terms of the president and of
parliament should commence concurrently. Mugabe was sworn in on June 29 but
parliament has not yet convened."

It can be argued that Mugabe's continued hold on office is
against this provision in the constitution and may be unlawful.

A group of lawyers said the government's current legal status
was questionable.

"The constitution stipulates that the country should not be
governed without parliament for more than 180 days.

"We are well past this."

Mugabe dissolved parliament on January 24 ahead of the March 29

The lawyers said the memorandum of understanding which says
parliament should not convene while talks are on "is merely a contract
between political parties and it cannot override the constitution".

Mugabe is believed to be targeting MPs to join his government,
mainly from the faction led by Mutambara.

Tsvangirai's faction said Mugabe had been trying to entice MPs
through offers of ministerial posts and other promises.

If Mugabe succeeds, it will further worsen the economic
situation with no promise of assistance to rebuild the decimated economy.

Yesterday, the government said inflation had surged to 11200000%
for June.

But independent economist John Robertson said real inflation was

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Onus is on SADC to dump Mugabe and save a nation

20 August 2008

Allister Sparks

WHILE everyone is surely anxious to see the Zimbabwe
negotiations succeed in bringing relief to the long-suffering people of that
country, it is nonetheless galling that the process should be taking place
at all. For it is sending a terrible message to tyrants everywhere.

It is telling them that when you face defeat in an election, the
thing to do is to launch mayhem in your country, beating and butchering and
bludgeoning your own people until horrified peacekeepers come hurrying to
the scene to stop the carnage and you can then negotiate a continuing role
for yourself in the power structure.

It is a form of blackmail. The moral equivalent of the
hostage-taker who threatens to go on shooting his hostages unless his
demands are met.

The sane world always faces a dilemma in such situations. To
yield to the hostage-taker's demands is to encourage their replication, and
so there has been a growing reluctance to do so and the painful decision has
been taken to leave hostages to their fate. But when whole communities are
involved it is a quantitatively different matter.

Still, I believe the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) and the African Union (AU) could be doing better in the case of
hostage-taker Robert Mugabe. As this column has noted repeatedly for more
than a year, those two bodies are committed by their own charters not to
recognise any regime that takes power by unconstitutional means. So they
should have warned Mugabe in advance that if he rigged this year's election
again, as he did in 2002 and 2005, they would not recognise his government.
It would be an illegitimate regime and Zimbabwe would be suspended from both
bodies and isolated.

That, I believe, would have stopped him. Mugabe may thumb his
nose at Britain and the US, but he would not dare do so at the rest of

Indeed, SADC should be acting in that way right now. Instead of
trying to negotiate a power-sharing deal, they should be telling Mugabe
collectively and bluntly that he lost the March 29 election, that he
extended the run-off illegally, that his campaign of violence and
intimidation was unacceptable, and that he cannot therefore be recognised as
head of the Zimbabwe government.

They should tell him he must step down, and that if he does not
step down SADC will withdraw all support from him and his government. He
will be isolated on his own continent.

Sadly, President Thabo Mbeki, as SADC's appointed negotiator,
has not had the strength of character to do that. He is in awe of Mugabe's
reputation as a liberation icon, and perhaps in fear of being denounced as a
tool of the west, which is Mugabe's stock-in-trade response to his African

And so the timidity has become pervasive. Nobody has been
prepared to stand up to the old tyrant except Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia, who
died yesterday in France (though he had been sedated following a stroke, he
still managed to send a message of admonition to the leaders in Sandton) and
Botswana's gutsy new president, Ian Khama, who boycotted the meeting to
protest at Mugabe's presence there as Zimbabwe's unelected president.

Even some of our media and professorial analysts seem stricken
by obtuseness. The other day I heard an SABC commentator say, as the SADC
leaders headed for Sandton, that "the ball is now in (Morgan) Tsvangirai's

How preposterous! Here is a man who has been robbed of an
election victory, had his organisation smashed and his supporters beaten,
tortured and killed, being told that the onus is on him to make concessions
so that peace can be restored.

The point is that Mugabe's insistence that he be the head of the
so-called "power-sharing" government, with the power to appoint - and thus
also to dismiss - members of that government, including Tsvangirai as prime
minister, is so obviously unacceptable to Tsvangirai that I cannot
understand why it was not instantly dismissed as a negotiating position.

Tsvangirai is not a fool. He and everybody else in southern
Africa know how Mugabe swallowed up Joshua Nkomo and his Zapu party without
a trace in what purported to be a power-sharing deal in the 1980s. It is as
plain as a pikestaff that this is what Mugabe is trying to do with
Tsvangirai now - and that Tsvangirai would be crazy to fall for it.

Yet we keep getting reports saying there is only one obstacle
remaining in the negotiations - even though that obstacle is the size of

The problem with SADC is that too many of its leaders have too
much in common with Mugabe. They are imbued with the notion that their
parties of liberation have a historic right to rule indefinitely; that as
"vanguard parties" only they have the wisdom and ideological insight to
chart the course of the unending "national democratic revolution". They form
a kind of freemasonry that closes ranks with fellow members of that
self-righteous but shrinking club.

One can imagine, for example, that Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who
has been president of Angola for 29 years, feels somewhat reluctant to tell
Mugabe that after 28 years it is past time for him to go.

The AU, too, has some less than enthusiastic champions of free
and fair elections. There is Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled for 27
years, who habitually locks up his opposition at election time and appears
now to be preparing to hand over to his son, Gamal. And of course Muammar
Gaddafi, who has held power in Libya for 39 years and counting.

What needs to happen is for the SADC leaders to cast off their
craven obsession with the egotistical needs of one stubborn old man and
focus instead on the increasingly desperate needs of the Zimbabwean people.

Zimbabwe's economy is disintegrating. The currency is devaluing
at the rate of 1000% a week. Inflation is reckoned to be in the vicinity of
50-million percent. Which means that the money is worthless. It can't buy
anything, and in any case there is nothing in the shops to buy. The maize
crop this year is one-third of what is needed to feed the nation with its
most basic staple.

The people are facing starvation. A human catastrophe is
looming. Africa itself does not have the resources to save the 10-million or
so people still left in Zimbabwe. Only the western donor countries can do
that. They have pledged $4bn over two years, which is about half Zimbabwe's
gross domestic product, to kick-start a recovery.

But the donor countries won't give the aid if Mugabe remains
head of the government. Which is understandable, because he squandered the
wealth of what was once a prosperous country and would surely do so again to
keep his cronies happy while the ordinary people continue to suffer in

In any case, how can any donor country justify asking its
taxpayers to bale out a tyrant and subsidise an illegitimate regime?

No, the onus is on the SADC leaders to do the right thing. They
must tell Mugabe to go, now, so that the people of Zimbabwe can start living

* Sparks is a former editor of the Rand Daily Mail and a veteran
political analyst.

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ZANU PF is stumbling block to talks: Tsvangirai
by Basildon Peta Wednesday 20 August 2008

INTERVIEW: A weekend Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in South Africa failed to broker a deal to end the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe despite spirited efforts by regional leaders to get the negotiating parties in Zimbabwe to close ranks. Basildon Peta caught up with two of the key negotiating parties soon after the summit ended. 

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the larger formation of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), who has refused to sign a deal currently on the table, explains in detail why a deadlock remains. 

QUESTION: There were a lot of expectations that a deal would be signed by the end of the SADC summit on Sunday. That did not happen and it seems we are back to square one. Why?

ANSWER: Well, we have not made much progress because the expectation was that President Mbeki would use the collective leadership wisdom of SADC to bring the parties to some form of an agreement. Now it would appear that on the other outstanding issues, we are still as far apart as at the beginning. The only fortunate thing is that both parties realise that they cannot walk away from the negotiations.

Q: What are these issues that still hold this dialogue back?  

A: The real differences arise out of the roles and powers of the two critical positions in this proposed government, which is the powers of the president and powers of the prime minister, especially in terms of authority, in terms of who is responsible for what.

Q: There is a view that you are overplaying your hand in these negotiations since you did not win an absolute majority in Parliament on March 29 to justify claiming complete executive power. Only one seat separates you from ZANU PF minus the 10 seats that Arthur Mutambara’s faction holds?

A: We are not claiming complete executive power. We are talking about shared executive power. Anyone who claims that we are overplaying our hand doesn’t understand the mandate given to us by the people on 29 March. The thing that is fundamental is that the people of Zimbabwe spoke. Fifty-seven percent of the people who voted said they no longer had any confidence in Mugabe. If you then consider the events of June 27 (the run off election) which was not accepted by anyone, then you can ask where Mugabe derives his legitimacy. It’s ZANU PF which is therefore overplaying its hand. He (Mugabe) can only get legitimacy by saying that he is the caretaker president until another election is held. That’s why there is need for a transition. That’s why Mugabe cannot continue to enjoy the same powers he had before.

Q: We understand that SADC tabled a last minute compromise deal that you and Mugabe rejected. Can you let us in on that?

A: No SADC proposal was given to us. All we were told is that we have to be part of the process in order to influence the process without specifically defining how that process is going to work in real terms. And that is the difficulty we have got.

Q: Who is the stumbling block in this whole process?

A: From what we see and when you analyse the powers of the president and the prime minister, and you see that there is no shared responsibility and authority, you then have to say it’s ZANU PF who is the stumbling block.

Q: But ZANU PF says you are the stumbling block?

A: Let them demonstrate what powers they have ceded to the prime minister or to the other party. Identify those areas and you will easily see who is the stumbling block.

Q: The deal on the table that you refused to sign stipulates that executive power will reside in the president, prime minister and cabinet. It’s an all-encompassing arrangement . . . which ZANU PF says will foster collective responsibility rather than try to make a distinction between president and PM?

A:  There is no such thing as collective executive authority. Somebody is responsible. Why are they afraid of pinpointing that you (Mugabe) is responsible as head of state for these functions and you (Tsvangirai) is responsible for government with these functions. Why are they afraid to do that? That demarcation of responsibility is very important for accountability purposes, for authority purposes. You cannot expect the MDC to be tasked with turning around the mess in Zimbabwe without being given authority. Does that make sense?

Q: Your stance is that the prime minister should chair Cabinet, appoint Cabinet ministers, and generally be in charge of running Cabinet. Do you foresee yourself compromising and negotiating that position?

A: That is our fundamental position. It’s very very fundamental and non-negotiable. It would be unprecedented to have a president with a ceremonial prime minister . . . We have said to them we don’t want to have a ceremonial president. But we also don’t want to have a ceremonial prime minister?

Q: If ZANU PF thinks that they have given much power to the position of prime minister, why don’t you tell them to have that position and your party assumes the presidency?

A: We told SADC that. We said let’s swap roles. If they don’t want to concede the facts, we said the other solution is for them to take the prime minister’s role and we take the president’s.

Q: And what did SADC say?

A: I don’t think they said anything on it.

Q: And what about Mugabe?

A: I don’t know what his response is to that?

Q: There is also a view that progress is stalled because the style of President Mbeki’s mediation, deemed by some to be pro-Mugabe, is part of the problem?

A: I am in the negotiations as one of the parties and it would be improper to start besmirching the mediation effort.

Q: Another view is that you haven’t adequately reached out to Arthur Mutambara’s faction of the MDC which is now allegedly siding with ZANU PF in the talks to your disadvantage?

A: It’s in the public domain that we announced to the whole world that we have a coalition agreement. So what kind of reaching out is needed, other than to observe the conditions of that coalition agreement. If the Mutambara group have decided to align with ZANU PF, that’s their choice. But they must also know that in terms of that coalition agreement, there is a breach.

Q: Are you speaking as one with Mutambara in the negotiations. At his Press conference last week, he said you ought to put Zimbabwe first, implying that he disagrees with your positions?

A: I thought we were all playing in the same court . . . But it would appear that that is not the case. They (the Mutambara faction) have other views. And I think we need to revisit the coalition agreement and ask them whether we are still together insofar as these negotiations are concerned.

Q: SADC has said Parliament can now be reconvened. What effect will this have on the negotiations in view of the fact that the MOU had said convening of Parliament and appointment of Cabinet ought to be delayed until the negotiations are completed?

A: It will have no effect. As far as we are concerned we don’t see anything wrong with that. Let Parliament be reconvened.  

Q: What about Cabinet?

A: Parliament is the expression of the will of the people. Cabinet is another thing. Convening Parliament does not necessarily mean that a Cabinet should be appointed. If Parliament is being reconvened to deal with this dispute, then let it deal with the dispute. But that does not mean Mugabe unilaterally goes to form a government and have Cabinet ministers. If that is the intention, then it will be a breach of the MOU.

Q: So where do things stand now. When are these negotiations resuming and where and for how long?

A: I am not the mediator. That is the responsibility of President Mbeki, the mediator, to manage. We have not heard anything from him as yet.

Q: What happens if this deadlock remains. It looks like Mugabe is not going to budge and you will not budge?

A: Leadership is no just about compromise, it’s also about principle and about the people. It’s not about an elite pact or position sharing. It’s about people’s expectations. The people’s expectations are clear. They want a democratic government to take them out of this crisis caused by mismanagement. Achieving such a government will remain our goal.

Q: ZANU PF keeps on alleging that a deal with you remains difficult because you are reporting and taking instructions from Britain and the United States who have said they will not fund any government in which Mugabe remains powerful?

A: Well I am sure that you know the ZANU PF rhetoric, and line and lies. They always say that the MDC does not think for itself. We are even being accused that the position papers we are presenting are being written by the British and the Americans. It’s very unfortunate. They continue with this paranoia of a conspiracy. But if they were honest, they would go out and try to find out what are the people’s expectations. If they can build confidence in us, we will build confidence in them. That’s the only way to move forward.

Q: What’s next if nothing is resolved in Mbeki’s mediation.

A: This is a conflict of emotions and not principals. The sooner ZANU PF realises that they have no monopoly in determining the future of the country and that they have to accommodate MDC as partner and not as an enemy, the better.

Q: What is your Plan B if the dialogue fails?

A: Ah! We can’t start discussing plan Bs, plan Cs, plan Ds, and plan Es . . .

Q: One of the army commanders is said to have told a meeting of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) that the only way to get the MDC to agree to a deal is to kill you. Are you afraid?

A: Well they have all the guns, and I can’t prevent them from planning to eliminate me. But if they succeed, they would have my blood on their hands. – ZimOnline

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What is on offer now is what is practicable: Ncube
by Basildon Peta Wednesday 20 August 2008

INTERVIEW: In our quest to seek a comprehensive understanding of why the Zimbabwe dialogue remains deadlocked, Basildon Peta also interviewed Professor Welshman Ncube, the chief negotiator in the Arthur Mutambara faction of the MDC, who expressed contrary views to those held by Tsvangirai.

QUESTION: A deal to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis remains elusive despite President Thabo Mbeki and SADC’s spirited efforts. Why?

ANSWER: It is elusive because it has been impossible to get all the three parties at the negotiating table to agree on essentially what this deal is about. If you take into account the positions as they stand now, it boils down to one thing in our view; Do you have a power sharing deal or do you have a power transfer deal. In our view the deal which is on the table now, which the SADC leaders spent long hours discussing with us – is essentially a power sharing deal. Regrettably, some of the parties (the Tsvangirai formation) did not find that deal adequate because they desired a power transfer deal.

Q: The Tsvangirai formation argues that the deal on the table will leave Mugabe’s powers intact and relegate Tsvangirai to a ceremonial prime minister’s role. Many agree that it is simply unreasonable to expect Tsvangirai to play a junior role in a Mugabe government when he beat him in the March 29 elections.

A: The SADC communiqué says the deal on the table is what is an appropriate, fair and equitable power sharing deal. And this is what the SADC leaders were trying to persuade all of us to accept. Regrettably some of us (Tsvangirai formation) did not accept it. But in our view we can say that the SADC resolution is a fair reflection of the facts on the ground . . . The executive function is the function of running government, of appointing and supervising ministers, of determining the day to day operations of government, of defining policy. If you exclude the leader of one of the parties from that completely, you are rendering whomsoever you have excluded ceremonial. That is why SADC found that the demands which are on the table (from Tsvangirai) are for a power transfer. And they were unable to endorse those. Which is why they endorsed what is on the table which is power sharing. I cannot go beyond that and I cannot go on a finger pointing expedition. But I go by the resolution of SADC which is essentially that what we have is a power sharing deal. Anything else is a power transfer.

I can go further and say that if you go by the results of 29 March, no single party can argue for transfer of power to itself because no single party has the absolute majority to say we are entitled to have power transferred to us. Consider the figures, ZANU PF has 99, MDC-T 100 and we have 10. For anyone to say that power ought to be transferred to themselves alone, they ought to have 106 seats in the House of Assembly. No one has that. The fact that you might have the highest number, does not entitle you to a transfer. You still need one of the other parties to stand in your corner before you can command 106 seats. MDC-T does not have the absolute majority to claim transfer of power to itself without sharing it with one or other of the parties.

Q: But their argument is that they formed a coalition with you. And that your coalition commands a comfortable majority of 110 seats.

A: Nobody can negotiate for us. We negotiate for ourselves. We are an independent political party. In the elections we contested against ZANU PF, we contested against MDC-T. We got the seats we got and we own those seats, and our role is to ensure that we play a constructive role. Our role is to ensure that we speak for the people who voted for us against MDC-T and against ZANU PF. So we cannot and we will not annex our votes to anyone. So we cannot agree with positions, we don’t believe are right. We have not done that. We will not do that. What was done by the leadership of the MDC . . . was to back MDC-T in the run-off. But the run-off was terminated prematurely when ZANU PF unleashed violence on the people. As things stand now, each of the MDC parties are independent of each other. Anyone who wants to work with any other will have to approach the other and have a deal. As of now, there is no deal with anyone. The discussions which took place between the two elections were founded on the fact that Morgan had won the 29 March election and would win the 27 June elections. That did not happen and therefore what was agreed then does not constitute a coalition.

Q: Don’t you think that the MDC would have been much more effective if they were speaking with one voice in these negotiations? The view in the world is that MDC-Mutambara has thrown its lot with ZANU PF and is siding with Mugabe?

A: We have no desire to finger point. We have conducted the dialogue with absolute integrity . . . The position we have on the table now is the deal we negotiated in the pre-planning stages and agreed on it with MDC-T . . . When we strategised together and when we planned together at the commencement of these negotiations, we targeted this deal. And now we have got it. We have no desire to finger point.

Q: Is MDC–T therefore overplaying their hand?

A: Let them answer and determine that. Let me say that when we started this dialogue, we had three positions. The one we felt would favour the MDC most was the one that would make Mugabe a ceremonial president and effectively achieve a power transfer. But we considered the extent to which ZANU PF went by blood, by stealth to get the presidency the manner it did. It was unlikely to agree to a power transfer by rendering Mugabe a ceremonial president. We said that would be the best deal if we can achieve it. But it’s unlikely for obvious reasons. We then said the other extreme position would be for ZANU PF to say they have the presidency. They say we are inviting all of you to a government of national unity led by us (ZANU PF). Pretty much like the 1987 unity government whereby the ZANU PF government was the leading partner in any coalition arrangement. We rejected this collectively because it would not be power sharing. The Third model which was in between these two, we categorised it as the Kenyan model. Which is where an executive president has executive power and an executive prime minister has executive power and they have to share this power and they have to make decisions as between themselves. Some of them by consensus so that no one feels that they have been booted out of holding executive authority. We thus aimed for the Kenyan model and achieved that model. We even achieved more powers for the prime minister than what Raila Odinga has. Which is why SADC heads of state, 15 of them, have agreed with that and hence their strong opinion as reflected in the communiqué. We stand by that position. We have been vindicated by the SADC position. If you want transfer of power, it will not happen because you need a period of transition during which each party will feel they have a stake in what is going on.

Q: But there are not necessarily 15 heads of state because Botswana has disagreed with that position and its leader boycotted the summit.

A: I don’t want to disclose to you what was happening in the meetings we had but I can assure you that Botswana was represented in those meetings with the leaders. Botswana was there and was having positions that were consistent with the rest of SADC. That I can assure you.

Q: So you are basically happy with this deal which Tsvangirai has rejected?

A: It’s not a question of happiness. It’s a question of what is practicable and what is possible in the circumstances. In our view what is on the table now is what is practicable under the circumstances.

Q: Tsvangirai specifically wants to chair and run Cabinet but Mugabe doesn’t. Would you urge Tsvangirai to drop that position for the sake of progress?

A: Look at the documents which were initially agreed buy all the parties before others withdrew their agreement. In terms of those agreements, the president chairs Cabinet, the prime minister is the deputy chair. That was the compromise which was reached. All three parties were at one point in agreement with that position. SADC has endorsed that as a basis for moving forward.

Q: But Tsvangirai would never had an opportunity to chair Cabinet as Mugabe’s two deputies would have acted in the president’s seat whenever Mugabe is not available?  

A: That’s a re-interpretation of issues. The agreement that is there says there is a chairman and a deputy chairman of cabinet. In the absence of the substantive chairman, the deputy acts. At the negotiating table the argument you now raise was never put up.

Q: But on March 29, 57 percent of Zimbabweans rejected Mugabe. Why should Tsvangirai therefore not claim executive power and the right to chair and run Cabinet?  

A: You can’t remake the rules after the game. The game was that you had more than two players. One of the players had to get 50 + 1 percent for power to move to him. That did not happen . . .

Q: Is Tsvangirai therefore being unreasonable ?

A: Again it’s not for me to decide whether anyone is being unreasonable or not. If you are a party to the negotiations you must be satisfied with what is on the table for you to sign up. I cannot question anyone’s right to decide not to sign. Any of the parties has an absolute right to say no.

Q: But the implication of what you are saying is that Tsvangirai is being unreasonable and ZANU PF and your side are the right guys?

A: No I have not said anything about ZANU PF in everything I have said to you so far. I have spoken about our position. I dare not speak for ZANU PF. I cannot speak for ZANU PF . . . All I am saying is that our view is consistent with the SADC resolution. It is our view that the deal on the table forms the basis of moving forward. But we recognise the right of any party to be unhappy and to seek more. The only question is whether those with the power to give more are willing to give more.

Q: What is the implication of reconvening Parliament as urged by SADC considering that the MOU had called for a delay until negotiations are completed?

A: The implication is that SADC is saying, despite the MOU stipulation that Parliament cannot be re-convened before this process has come to an end, as far as they (SADC) are concerned, everything has been done to build an agreement. A time has therefore come to say you cannot continue to say there is a vacuum in government. It is their view that the government of the day should proceed to convene Parliament. They have therefore effectively amended the MOU by saying that after all that has been done thus far, a vacuum in the Zimbabwe government cannot be left to continue. They (SADC) are therefore saying they cannot stop ZANU PF from convening Parliament if it’s inclined to do so.

Q: Where do we go from here?

A: Frankly I don’t know. It’s up to the facilitator and to SADC. They have not communicated to us as to what they intend to do in this respect. We will await their guidance.

Q: Why do you have to wait for them. As Zimbabweams why not initiate your contacts?

A:  Of course that is possible if all the parties are willing. But if you want to talk under the facilitator, you have to wait to hear from him.

Q: What about the reported threat by your MPs to walk out if you remain aligned to Mugabe in these talks?

A: We have no positions that are aligned to Mugabe. We have our positions which are in line with what our national council has decided on the issues. I do not believe there is any of our MPs who hold the positions that are different from those of the national council If there is, I will be surprised.

Q: What about the facilitation process itself.

A: A facilitator is a facilitator. He can help the parties but he cannot decide for them.

Q: If deadlock remains, and if all fails what’s next?

A: If all fails then we are back to the to the trenches. – ZimOnline

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Zim inflation shoots to new world record

by Nokuthula Sibanda Wednesday 20 August 2008

HARARE - Zimbabwe's annual inflation shot to 11.2 million percent in June, a
new world record and an emphatic signal that President Robert Mugabe's
government was losing the race against time to save the hemorrhaging economy
from total collapse.

"The year-on-year inflation rate (annual percentage change) for the month of
June 2008 as measured by the all items Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at
11 268 758.9 percent, gaining 9 035 045.5 percentage points on the May 2008
rate of 2 233 713.4 percent, " the state's Central Statistical Office said
on Tuesday

"This means that prices as measured by the all items CPI increased by an
average of 11 268 758.9 percent between June 2007 and June 2008," added the
CSO that has in recent months shown reluctance to divulge inflation data,
apparently to avoid exposing Mugabe's government.

Inflation - which most economists believe is much higher than the CSO cares
to admit - is the most visible sign of a deep recession that has left the
majority of the 12 million Zimbabweans mired in poverty as unemployment
rockets amid shortages of food, hard cash and every basic survival

Critics blame the crisis on repression and wrong policies by Mugabe who has
ruled Zimbabwe since the once prosperous southern African country's 1980
independence from Britain.

But Mugabe, who has refused to cede power to opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai in a deal that could unlock foreign aid vital to economic
recovery, denies hat his policies are to blame for Zimbabwe's meltdown and
instead says he is being sabotaged by Western governments opposed to his
rule. - ZimOnline

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Levy Mwanawasa: President of Zambia who fought against corruption and was a fierce and vocal critic of Robert Mugabe

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Levy Mwanawasa, President of Zambia since 2002, was part of a new generation
of African leaders whose formative years were not spent fighting for
liberation. Zambia won independence from Britain in 1964 when Mwanawasa was
just 15, and his early career was instead taken up with the battle against

It was this background that led Mwanawasa to become such a fierce critic of
the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Where Thabo Mbeki of South Africa
and José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola saw a fellow liberation leader under
attack from the West, Mwanawasa saw an ailing demagogue whose freefalling
economy was having a devastating effect on the region.

In 2007, alarmed at the number of refugees pouring across the border into
Zambia, Mwanawasa likened Zimbabwe to the "sinking Titanic whose passengers
are jumping out". He used his position as chairman of the regional political
body, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to criticise
Zimbabwe's flawed presidential elections in 2008.

At the African Union summit in June at the Egyptian resort of Sharm
el-Sheikh, which followed Mugabe's controversial re-election, Mwanawasa had
been expected to urge his fellow leaders to condemn the poll. But on the day
before the summit began, Mwanawasa suffered a serious stroke, and was flown
to a hospital in Paris. The African heads of state failed to speak out
publicly, and the recent attempt by Mbeki to broker a power-sharing
settlement between Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai has now collapsed.
Botswana followed Mwanawasa's lead this month by boycotting a meeting of
regional leaders in protest at Mugabe's presence.

Levy Mwanawasa was born in 1948, in Mufulira, a town in the northern
copperbelt of what was then Northern Rhodesia. He studied law at the
University of Zambia and by the age of 30 had established his own law firm,
Mwanawasa and Company. He quickly carved out a reputation for taking on
difficult cases, particularly those which challenged the government. It
wasn't easy. Independence had not brought democracy to Zambia. Kenneth
Kaunda, the country's first president, resisted all attempts to hold
multi-party elections, and took a dim view of those who threatened his rule.

In 1989 Mwanawasa took on his most high-profile, and politically dangerous,
case. A team of politicians and military officers, including the former
vice-president Lt-Gen Christian Tembo, were charged with attempting to
overthrown Kaunda.

Mwanawasa's successful defence catapulted him into a position of national
prominence. The following year, with Kaunda finally giving in to local and
international pressure to hold multi-party elections, Mwanawasa was touted
as a possible presidential candidate. He declined, citing his age, 41, and
relative inexperience.

While Mwanawasa had won plaudits during the 1980s he had also gained some
powerful enemies. When he was involved in a serious car crash in 1991, some
suggested that he may have been the victim of a political plot, allegations
which were never substantiated. The incident left Mwanawasa with serious
injuries - he spent three months recovering in a Johannesburg hospital.

The man eventually chosen by the opposition Movement for Multi-party
Democracy (MMD) party to stand for the presidency was Frederick Chiluba, a
flamboyant and smartly dressed trade unionist. Chiluba won the 1991 election
and installed Mwanawasa as his vice-president. But it wasn't long before
Mwanawasa's strong anti-corruption credentials collided with the realities
of the new Zambian government. He lasted just three years as vice-president,
resigning after accusing some of his colleagues of corruption.

His political ambitions remained undimmed though, and he challenged Chiluba
for the leadership of the MMD in 1996. His failed attempt established
Mwanawasa as the favourite to take over once Chiluba reached his
constitutional limit of two presidential terms.

However, Mwanawasa's election as president in 2001 was far from unanimous.
Standing against 10 other candidates, he won 29 per cent of the vote, just
two points more than his closest opponent. Moreover, national and
international observers cited serious irregularities in the election
process, somewhat undermining Mwanawasa's record for integrity.

Nevertheless, in office Mwanawasa won support from the West for his
anti-corruption drive and his economic reforms. His biggest victim was his
predecessor and one-time mentor, Chiluba. The former president was accused
of corruption and charges were eventually brought against him in the High
Court in London in July 2007.

Kick-starting the economy proved much harder. At independence, Zambia's
copper wealth had given it the potential to become one of Africa's richest
countries. It never happened - the Zambia that Mwanawasa took over in
January 2002 was instead one of the continent's poorest. But by the time he
ran for re-election in 2006 annual growth was above five per cent. While the
macro-economic figures looked impressive, the majority of Zambia's 11.5
million people still lived in poverty.

There were also growing concerns about the President's health. Mwanawasa's
slurred speech, a result of the 1991 car crash, had long been whispered
about. In 2006, he suffered a minor stroke, months before he was due to
stand for re-election. He recovered, but his opponents claimed he was not
fit enough to run the country.

Mwanawasa's main challenger in the 2006 election, Michael Sata, ran a
populist campaign, arguing that too few Zambians were benefiting from
Mwanawasa's eceonomic policies. Sata had been ahead in the opinion polls,
but Mwanawasa won again. When Sata claimed the poll had been rigged
Mwanawasa threatened to charge him with treason.

Although he was a favourite in the West for his stand against corruption and
his attempts to reform the economy, Mwanawasa could also be outspoken when
he felt rich countries were letting Zambia down.

At the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles, 18 countries, including Zambia, were
offered debt relief. They were also promised a doubling of aid by 2010. That
would have made an enormous difference in Zambia where foreign aid accounted
for $1bn - one third - of the annual budget.

Zambia used the debt relief to make rural healthcare free. Poor families had
previously had to scrape together 8,000 Zambian kwacha, the equivalent of
£1, to join the country's healthcare scheme and another 50p every time they
needed to see a doctor. When the fees were scrapped patient numbers rose
dramatically - by as much as a third in some parts of the country. But the
new policy could only be successful if Zambia could afford the additional
doctors, nurses, medicines and medical facilities needed to deal with the
surge in patients.

The additional aid from the West never came. Mwanawasa was furious, and his
ministers called it a betrayal. Mwanawasa had been intending to remind the
leaders of the rich world of their promise at the G8 summit in Japan in July
but he never recovered from his stroke.

Steve Bloomfield

Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, politician: born Mufulira, Zambia 3 September 1948;
Vice-President of Zambia 1991-94, President 2002-08; twice married (six
children); died Paris 19 August 2008.

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" are collectively foolish" --Mutambara

The Mole | published: 19 August, 2008
In a display of the true mentality of Mutambara, in an interview, Mutambara
called the interviewer foolish, asserting Aussies are racist.

In a display of the ZANU-PF thinking that Mutambara has now adopted, he
called Australians racist. In an interview, Mutambara attacks the west.

Mutambara appears to be trying very hard to please ZANU-PF and Robert
Mugabe, and in so doing he is allienating his erstwhile comrades both within
and outside the MDC.

Judging by his tone, it won't surprise me to hear that he has been named a
deputy president or even a prime minister by Mugabe in the new cabinet that
he is preparing to announce later this week ahead of the convening of
parliament early next week.

I shudder to think what this man would do if he is given power. Read excepts
from the interview below. The full transcript of the interview is included
at the bottom of the page.


Mutambara: "WHO are you? How dare you undermine our intelligence? How dare
you, you are so racist to the extent that you can't guarantee us, give us
the respect, the vote of confidence that we can make our own decisions."

Geraldine Doogue: "Well, let ..."

Mutambara: "You are collectively stupid ..."

Doogue: "Let me ..."

Mutambara: "... collective foolishness. We won't allow Australia to judge
our agreement. It's none of your business."

Doogue: "Let me bring up the issue of the ..."

Mutambara: "I haven't finished. Shame on you for expressing no confidence in
Morgan Tsvangirai. Shame on you for expressing no confidence in Mugabe.
Shame on you for expressing no confidence in Mutambara. We will not brook
that nonsense."

Doogue: "Is it possible that you or Mr Tsvangirai could be walking into a
trap as Joshua Nkomo did in the '80s, where it looked like a power-sharing
agreement and in fact as you know ..."

Mutambara: I have a question. Do you think I am stupid? When you ask that
question you think we are foolish and we are very offended that you think we
are that stupid. We are smarter than the Australians. We are smarter than
the Americans. We went to better schools than most of these leaders in
America, in Britain and in Australia. I am coming out of Oxford. None of
your prime ministers can challenge me intellectually. So how do you
patronise me and tell me that I'm going to be hoodwinked by Mugabe....


Full Transcript
This transcript was typed from a recording of the program. The ABC cannot
guarantee its complete accuracy because of the possibility of mishearing and
occasional difficulty in identifying speakers.

Geraldine Doogue: My first guest on today's program is emerging from an
incredible week of a behind the scenes chess-plays and horse-trading, all of
which have led to major talks that start today in South Africa, and which
could determine the fate of Zimbabwe.

Arthur Mutambara, is the leader of the faction within the Movement for
Democratic Change that's led by Morgan Tsvangarai. Both men, plus Robert
Mugabe and South African president, Thabo Mbeke, are participating in talks
that many hope might culminate in some sort of National Unity government.

Now we've spoken to the ambitious Arthur Mutambara before and he's always
enlightening, highly, about his country's politics, way beyond the newspaper
headlines. The question is, is he acting at the moment as a noble
circuit-breaker in this long-running tragedy or more as an opportunist?

I'm delighted that he could spare some time to talk to us at the start of a
very busy weekend. Professor Mutambara, welcome back to Saturday Extra.

Arthur Mutambara: Thank you very much.

Geraldine Doogue: I'm going to read you a rather difficult old summary that
I read in The Guardian newspaper this week, which said that you were a
'shameless opportunist who has appeared to be currying favour with his
former enemies by parroting Mr Mugabe's anti-western rhetoric'. Now I take
it that you fundamentally disagree with that summary?

Arthur Mutambara: Yes we do. What we have stated, we did a press conference
on Wednesday and made it very clear that this is a tripartite negotiations
framework. There cannot be a bilateral agreement out of this framework.
Either all three principals agree and we have a solution in our country, or
if one of them doesn't agree, then there's no solution. So there's
absolutely no way that our party is going to cut a deal with Mugabe to the
exclusion of Morgan Tsvangarai. So that must be understood without
equivocation or ambiguity. We are in here because Zimbabwe is going through
a humanitarian, economic and political crisis of immense proportions and
we're driven by the national interest, we're driven by the desires of the
people of Zimbabwe to move from poverty, from misery, to a justiciable
environment in our country, and we are saying all the leaders, all the three
political leaders must put national interest before self-interest.

Geraldine Doogue: So can I ask you, why did so many papers around the world
get this wrong then?

Arthur Mutambara: Because they are very stupid, they are very stupid, it's
as simple as that. In the first place, technically you can't have a
bilateral agreement from a three-party negotiations framework. Secondly
because the negotiations are being held with confidentiality so they didn't
have the information. And there is also propaganda on the part of ZANU to
try to put pressure on Mr Tsvangarai by saying to the world, 'If Mr
Tsvangarai doesn't agree, we're going to work with Mr Mutambara, and we're
saying, No, no, no. And the foolish journalist who has the nerve to believe
that Mr Mutambara can cut a deal with Mugabe in this framework is sick in
the mind.

Geraldine Doogue: Okay, that's a good rebuttal. Did you agree to anything
that made the negotiations advance, then?

Arthur Mutambara: Okay. What we have done is that we've agreed on all
issues, the three of us, Morgan Tsvangarai, Robert Mugabe and Mutambara.
We've agreed to everything, except one issue, and I'm not at liberty to
discuss that one issue, but I can say there's one issue which is outstanding
and Mr Tsvangarai has asked for time out to reflect and consult on that
matter. And we respect that because in any negotiations we must allow our
colleagues the opportunity to reflect and consult.

Geraldine Doogue: So you're not going to tell us what that is, I take it?

Arthur Mutambara: Yes. But I will say on that issue we as a party have no
problem with the current position in the negotiations. And so that's where
we are in agreement on that particular issue Mr Tsvangarai is on his own. I
must emphasise I am not beholden to Mr Tsvangarai. I am not beholden to
Robert Mugabe. I'm a separate political party, holding the balance of power
in our parliament, and will use that balance of power in the national
interest. I am not bound to agree with Tsvangarai all the time. When I
disagree with Morgan Tsvangarai I will go against him. I am a separate
political party with its own existence. However, we hope that the
negotiations are going to continue, Mr Tsvangarai will reflect and will be
able to come out with an agreement that will be signed by the three
principals. Right now nothing has been signed. Nothing, nothing, nothing.

Geraldine Doogue: Okay. So can I ask you this, which is what the world is
waiting for, that Tsvangarai is looking for the transfer of real executive
power from the President's office, to someone else. Now can you tell us,
from your inside knowledge, whether that is on the table?

Arthur Mutambara: Well of course, as I said before, we are not allowed as
part of this framework to negotiate in the media. We are only allowed to
discuss those matters that the facilitator has allowed us to discuss. What I
can tell you is that we are working towards a practical and reasonable and
justifiable political settlement in our country, and most of the reports
that are in the media are false, and we are hoping that the Zimbabwean
political leaders will come up with an agreement. What we must emphasise,
you think about the west that I'm parroting Mr Mugabe's language. Let me
make it very clear, we are discussing as Africans, we are discussing as
Zimbabweans, and will brook no interference from patronising westerners who
make the following statements. For example, saying to us, 'We will not
allow, we will not accept an agreement unless it's led by a particular
leader.' Who are you to tell Africans how to run their affairs? If the three
leaders agree on a particular position, it's not for Britain, it's not for
Australia, it's not for America to say that we are wrong. Who are you? How
dare you undermine our intelligence, how dare you are so racist to the
extent that you can't guarantee us and give us the respect, the vote of
confidence that we can make our own decisions.

Geraldine Doogue: Well, let...

Arthur Mutambara: You are collectively stupid...

Geraldine Doogue: Let me...

Arthur Mutambara .... collective foolishness. We won't allow Australia to
judge our agreement. It's none of your business.

Geraldine Doogue: Let me bring up...

Arthur Mutambara: ...of Zimbabwe.

Geraldine Doogue: Let me bring up the issue of the...

Arthur Mutambara: I haven't finished. Secondly, you've individuals in the
west. So you're saying to us that Zimbabwe are not capable of making a
decision. With individuals and governments in Europe and America imposing
sanctions while we are talking. We must not do anything to damage your
rapprochement, the spirit of discussion while people are talking. If
sanctions are imposed after the failure of the talks is a different matter.
But to impose sanctions while we are talking is a travesty of justice and
we're saying shame on you for expressing no confidence in Morgan Tsvangarai,
shame on you for expressing no confidence in Mugabe, shame on you for
expressing no confidence in Mutambara. We will not brook that nonsense.

Geraldine Doogue: Is it possible-and this is what I think some people with
some memories are wondering-that you or Mr Tsvangarai could be walking into
a trap as Joshua Nkomo did in the '80s, where it looked like a power-sharing
agreement and in fact as you know...

Arthur Mutambara: I have a question. Do you think I am stupid? When you ask
that question you think we are foolish and we are very offended that you
think we are that stupid. We are smarter than the Australians, we are
smarter than the Americans, we went to better schools than most of these
leaders in America, in Britain and in Australia. I am coming out of Oxford.
None of your prime ministers can challenge me intellectually. So how do you
patronise me and tell me that I'm going to be hoodwinked by Mugabe. You are
doubting my intelligence. Shame on you.

Geraldine Doogue: So you are quite confident that this veritable old-stager
called Robert Mugabe is not going to emerge in the same level of power as
before. You're quite confident of that, are you?

Arthur Mutambara: Very confident, because we know what we are doing. We are
capable Africans, we are capable Zimbabweans. We are very clever people.

Geraldine Doogue: Let me just put something else to you about a very
interesting observation made by an African man actually, writing in The
African Executive, that the difficulty about African politics is that
ethnicity can take centre stage long after the tribal war has been won, and
he was suggesting that this has been a real problem for Zimbabwe and in
trying to move to a new settlement, it does bedevil a lot of your efforts,
no matter how difficult the crisis. Are you confident you can rise above

Arthur Mutambara: That is completely nonsense, which is not even worth my
comment. Next question please.

Geraldine Doogue: So this is not-we should not...

Arthur Mutambara: Complete nonsense, not worth my comment. Can we have the
next question please.

Geraldine Doogue: Okay, well so you're telling me by the sound of you,
Arthur, and we've spoken to you a couple of times, you are starting to feel
some real confidence that these terrible times that have afflicted your
country, might be coming to an end?

Arthur Mutambara: We have cautious optimism. We're not over-confident, we
have cautious optimism and we hope that all the political leaders in our
country will put national interest before self interest. We are very, very
keen that we are driven by what's good for the country, what's good for the
people of Zimbabwe. Not what's good for Morgan Tsvangarai, not what's good
for Mutambara, not what's good for Mugabe, or what's good for the west,
what's good for America, Britain and so on-we should be driven by the
Zimbabwean national interest and we're smart enough to be able to extract a
reasonable deal from these negotiations, and there will be no bilateral
arrangement. It will be a threesome agreement.

Geraldine Doogue: And so will the west not like what's going to emerge?

Arthur Mutambara: It can go to hell. Who are you? Do we judge your elections
in Australia? Do we judge your elections and your agreements in America and
Europe? Nonsense. If Tsvangarai agrees. Who are you in Australia to judge
and say Tsvangarai is wrong?

Geraldine Doogue: So what in your view is the ideal outcome of this
weekend's talk, Arthur Mutambara?

Arthur Mutambara: The best outcome is to get an agreement where Mr
Tsvangarai, Mr Mugabe and myself say this is a good arrangement for our
country. We all agree and are going to sign this document. This is the best
short term answer to extricate our country from the worst situation in which
it is. And I must emphasise that whatever we agree upon this weekend or the
week after, it's a short-term answer. It's not the long-term solution for
our country. The long-term solution for our country is to get a new
people-driven democratic constitution, create a national vision, 20-,
30-year vision to make Zimbabwe a globally competitive economy, and hence
economically transforming ourselves so that in terms of the capital income
GDP, business growth, entrepreneurship, financial literacy we are one of the
top 20 countries in the world. We are on a long journey to the promised

Geraldine Doogue: Thank you very much indeed Arthur Mutambara. Good luck.

Arthur Mutambara: Thank you very much.

Geraldine Doogue: And Professor Arthur won't forget these
negotiations, will you, coming up this weekend. Let's watch with interest.

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Maternal Deaths, the Neglected Tragedy

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)

17 July 2008
Posted to the web 11 July 2008

Tonderai Kwidini

"It is a nasty experience which I do not want to be reminded of. But if you
try to keep it to yourself it will remain a shock for a long time. I cannot
even explain the pain I felt after being told that I was carrying dead
bodies in my womb," said Sesedzai Manzanga, a Harare teacher, as she
recounted giving birth to a dead set of twins two years ago.

"But I thank you for coming to hear my story because I am still alive and I
know that what I am going to tell you will help a lot of women out there."

Improving maternal health is fifth among the eight Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs). In Zimbabwe, the ruling ZANU-PF has insisted that the figures
are improving.

But Manzanga's husband Cecil blamed the current contraceptive methods
available to Zimbabwean women and falling health standards. He said that "it
is always painful when your wife fails to deliver but it is better if she
survives the ordeal because some women end up dying. At one time I got so
stressed that I had to seek counselling from my friends.

"I thought a bad omen had been cast upon me and that I was going to lose my
wife. I am glad she is still alive even though she has to live with a lot of
pain and various other complications," said Cecil Manzanga, who was
reluctant to talk about the issue.

One of the consequences is that Sesedzai Manzanga is unable to have any
other children, shattering the couple's dream of having four children.
"Although I feel sorry for my husband who has always wanted a baby boy, I
think I have to stop trying because it seems as if luck is not on my side. I
am afraid I will end up dead," said Sesedzai Manzanga.

For a long time maternal mortality has been a neglected tragedy as
traditional societies accepted the lethal risks of child bearing as normal
and unavoidable.

Making matters worse currently is the state of paralysis that the Zimbabwean
health sector is in. The costs of maternity services have been going up,
making it difficult for pregnant mothers to seek proper medical attention.

Shortly after Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980, the government
constructed maternity wings at all major hospitals, provided the necessary
drugs and recruited well-trained midwives. At one time the government even
abolished maternity fees at all health institutions, except central

But over the past decade the health standards in the country have fallen as
experienced health personnel leave the country. There has also been a marked
reduction in fiscal allocation to the health sector.

The cheapest maternity health services in Zimbabwe's capital Harare are
offered by the City Council clinics whose workers were on strike at the time
of writing. Pregnant mothers registered at these clinics have not been able
to access the necessary health care.

According to the 2005 Zimbabwe Millennium Development Goals (ZMDG) report
maternal mortality continues to be a major challenge in Zimbabwe with most
women dying due to pregnancy-related complications because of limited access
to antenatal, delivery and post natal care.

Alice Mutema, an official at the Southern African HIV/AIDS Information
Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS), said if drastic action was taken to revive
the collapsing health sector, the Zimbabwean government can at least get
closer to attaining MDG five.

She said: "The health sector has to get its act together and avail more
funds for other projects other than HIV/AIDS. Maternal health is not being
given the attention it deserves, but even if this happens, I do not think we
can achieve the 2015 target. But at least we can get closer to the target."

Minister of Health and Child Welfare David Pairenyatwa said, "Zimbabwe's
maternal death figures have been showing a tremendous reduction in the
recent past. The figures we received recently show a reduction from 900
cases to about 550 cases.

"It is a pity that some people claim that the health delivery system is
collapsing when we have such progress and given the work we are doing with
our international health partners. We remain hopeful that we will achieve
our MDG target despite the hardships we are facing," Pairenyatwa said.

According to the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) report covering the period
from 1999 to 2006, the maternal mortality rate in Zimbabwe has decreased
from 695 deaths per every 100,000 live births in 1999 to 555 deaths in 2006.

The DHS report is compiled by a US-based organisation, Macro International,
in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP), the ministry of health and the Central
Statistical Office (CSO). The technical assistance is provided by the United

"The decline in mortality is not a significant one and can be attributed to
things such as the fertility rate going down as more and more people opt to
have less children because of the economic hardships. And I think Zimbabwe
will not meet the 2015 target because the risk for reversal is big, even for
those MDGs that are going well," said Festo Kavishe, the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) country representative.

"The decline is not because the quality of services has improved but because
people are no longer having children like they used to do in 1999, therefore
the problem remains huge."

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Botswana dismisses Herald report
Local NewsAugust 20, 2008 | By Mellisa Dube-Koketso |

The Botswana government has dismissed a report that appeared in the Zimbabwe government’s mouthpiece, The Herald, which claimed that Botswana has changed its stance and endorsed the Power sharing talks.

The Herald reported in its Monday edition:

Botswana’s Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani, who represented the country at the summit after President Seretse Khama Ian Khama boycotted in protest against President Mugabe’s attendance, asked for more time to review the documents presented to him by the South African leader.

“The next day when the organ met again, he said he had spent the whole night reviewing the material and had not slept at all.

“He said his analysis of the situation was that Tsvangirai had misled them on Zimbabwe’s political processes.

“He said they had been misinformed and were of the opinion that Tsvangirai should accept the agreement that President Mbeki had facilitated as it was quite reasonable. His exact words were, ‘What more does Tsvangirai expect?’ But we cannot order him to accept the agreement, all we can do is try and persuade him to see sense’,” Skelemani said.

However Skelemani told Botswana media in Johannesburg that Botswana voiced its concerns on the role of Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister and will continue to boycott events attended by Mugabe as president.

“We explained what we thought could be Mr Tsvangirai’s role as prime minister is one where he does not only have a job to do but the authority to run the ministries in the envisioned government of national unity.” Skelemani said.

Skelemani further said Botswana’s boycott of the summit was successful and has drawn the attention of the world to the problem in Zimbabwe and until an agreement is reached between the negotiating parties, Botswana would not attend any event where Mugabe attends in his capacity as the president of Zimbabwe.

Skelemani , further said he believed negotiations could be concluded within weeks.

“By all indications we are getting there. As soon as the parties, with the help of Mr Mbeki sit down after arriving back home, there is no reason why they can not reach an agreement by the end of August as not a lot remains if there is the spirit of give and take,” he said.

Meanwhile the Movement for Democratic Change says it is not opposed to the opening of parliament but will reject any moves by President Robert Mugabe to appoint a cabinet before an agreement is sealed.

“If he (Mugabe) goes further and appoints a cabinet, it will be against the letter and spirit of the MOU,” party spokesperson Tapiwa Mashakada told SABC News.


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Tsvangirai signature is key to Zim resolution

From The Star (SA), 19 August

Basildon Peta

Zimbabwe's negotiating parties say they are still waiting to hear from
facilitator President Thabo Mbeki on the way forward after this weekend's
SADC summit failed to secure a deal to end the Zimbabwe crisis. But
authoritative sources warned that the deadlock would not be easily resolved,
as Mbeki felt he had done all he could and now hoped that Movement for
Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai would change his mind and sign a
controversial deal that is on the table. Tsvangirai has steadfastly refused
to endorse the deal because it keeps him in a junior role to Mugabe in any
government. But Mbeki believes it is an "important starting point", said one
source. The actual negotiations on a way forward had not resumed yesterday,
despite reports that they were continuing. Both negotiators from the two
formations of the MDC confirmed that they were still waiting to hear from

Zanu PF negotiators, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Labour Minister
Nicholas Goche, left for Harare with Mugabe at the end of the Southern
African Development Community summit on Sunday. Welshman Ncube, chief
negotiator of Arthur Mutambara's MDC faction, left for Harare yesterday. He
said he had not heard anything from Mbeki. Tsvangirai said he was also
waiting to hear from Mbeki. A source close to Mbeki, speaking on condition
of anonymity, said: "If he reconvenes the dialogue, it will only be for the
purposes of persuading Tsvangirai to sign the deal that is on the table,
which the MDC leader has thus far refused to do. "He (Mbeki) is unlikely to
reopen the dialogue on the substantive issues because he spent almost a week
in Zimbabwe and failed to get Tsvangirai and Mugabe to find common ground on
the outstanding substantive issues. There is no sign that the parties would
change their positions." A Zimbabwean source close to the dialogue said that
as far as he was concerned, the "dialogue is most probably now dead". "It's
either Tsvangirai signs, or he doesn't and nothing happens," said the

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Attacks on the Republic of Botswana unwarranted!

The programme for Africa's renewal is not a beauty contest on the catwalks
of Paris, London or New York; it's about the interest of the ordinary
African man, woman and children in Dakar, Abuja, Tshwane, Polokwane,
Khartoum and Harare.

- Joel Netshitenzhe, 2002

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CCZ) is highly encouraged by the efforts
being made by the government of Botswana in mounting pressure on the Harare
administration to return to democracy.

The Republic of Botswana, under the leadership of his Excellency Ian Khama,
has taken strides beyond verbal solidarity, but rather has also embarked on
actionable offensives of sending clear messages to the region that they do
not recognize the illegitimate regime of President Robert Mugabe and those
of like mind.

In the week which has just passed, the Ian Khama administration deported two
Zanu PF sympathizers, Caesar Zvayi, the former features and political editor
of the state mouth peace, The Herald and Gabriel Chaibva, former
spokesperson of the Arthur Mutambara led MDC. The administration argues that
it will not hesitate to stand by the truth even if the truth is going to
hurt those who have become strangers to the truth. The Botswana President
also boycotted the just ended SADC summit which was held in South Africa on
the grounds that they can not share the same platform with an administration
that masterminded and effected an election campaign which left hundreds
killed, thousands limping, many displaced and houses torched down in acts of

It is the Coalition's submissions that the government of Botswana, is
standing for a noble cause, which poet Seitlhamo (Thabo) Motsapi (2002)
properly contextualized when he said, "I could not compromise integrity by
crafting lies. I did not posses the passion for illusion, the love of guile,
the worship of obfuscation."

In the Coalition's position, Botswana is playing its critical role as a
responsible neighbour to Zimbabwe which was defined by the Zambian
government as a 'sinking titanic'. If it was not for the collective actions
and conscious undertakings of its neighbors during Zimbabwe's liberation war
against colonialism, it would have taken the country more time to dislodge
the colonial yoke which had become an albatross on Zimbabwe's neck.
Countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia among others took it in their
stride to house the liberation movements providing them with the requisite
support to conquer the battle.

However, the ruling Zanu PF party is conveniently suffering from a memory
lapse. The octogenarian leadership wants to redefine the facts on the ground
in the struggle for the restoration of governance and legitimacy. Dissenting
voices from neighboring countries are dismissed as borrowed western
positions and ideologies bent on funning regime change in the country.

The government, through its public relations outfits such as The Herald and
the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC) are stepping on each other's
toes in a bid to exchange blows with such countries which refused to fall
into the establishment's line of thought.

In the view of the state controlled media, the state organized killings,
rape, torture, displacements and acts of arson committed during the run up
to the 27 June 2008 presidential runoff are seen as insignificant
developments which are not worthy space in such media. One therefore wonders
why hectares of space are being allocated to government's venom on the
people who took courage and continues to speak out against such evil.

It is not in our African culture to celebrate death, the way the deported
former political and features editor, Caesar Zvayi lampooned and spate evil
on the death of the charismatic Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
activist Tonderai Ndira who was killed in a state organized brutal and
violent orchestra. Zvayi was one of the first Zanu PF apologists to cast a
stone of condemnation, defining Ndira as a thug. According to Zvayi, Ndira's
death brought sanity to the country. One could think that Zvayi, did not
have the normal human composition and the conscience of humanity which
forbids death.

In essence he got carried away in the wave crest of the Zanu PF's virulent
campaign against MDC supporters. What he failed to contemplate in his voice
of reason was that history was archiving the names and pains which the
nation was going through for posterity. Due to such reasons, the government
of Botswana saw it befitting to serve deportation papers to such a person
who had become part and parcel of the Zanu PF campaign of subverting the
will of the people of Zimbabwe who expressed themselves clearly during the
29 March 2008 elections by voting for the opposition.

It was lethal for the government of Botswana to expose their children to
such an imbedded journalist. It does not make imperative sense that a person
who literally became Zanu PF's political commissar through his lengthy and
tedious articles in The Herald could teach students to become professional
media practitioners at the University of Botswana.

Literally, Botswana took it upon itself to act in the very same good spirit
which Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania among other countries took to liberate
the people of Zimbabwe from a deep seated crisis of governance and
legitimacy. Tanzania for one, under the leadership of the late Julius
Nyerere intervened in Uganda, to stop the late renowned dictator of all
times Idi Amini from his cannibalistic dictatorship of the highest

We, therefore, call for the people of Botswana to remain resilient in their
support for the people of Zimbabwe and to remain true to their position of
speaking out against the illegitimate government of President Robert Mugabe
and his ruling party.

We also pay special attention and appreciation to President Levy Mwanawasa
of Zambia because of his resolve and persistence in calling upon the region
to take a tough stance against Mugabe and his administration in a bid to
return the tormented country to a democracy.

On the same token, we call upon SADC, specifically his Excellency President
Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and the continent at large through the African
Union (AU) to stop coddling political monsters in its midst. It is the only
effective way of establishing lasting stability in the continent, averting
poverty and investment in sustainable development.

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The buffoon tyrant was no laughing matter

By Nathan Morley 20.AUG.08
Five years ago the duty news editor at a major international radio station
phoned me requesting that I file a report on the death of Idi Amin.

Our correspondent in Saudi Arabia had flown off for his summer holidays and
I was "geographically closest" to the newly demised dictator.

Unlike newspapers, where journalists have lots of time to write and research
their stories, with radio news you usually get an hour at best to prepare
before broadcast.

If it concerns the death of a well known personality or world leader and
there is no obituary already prepared, such as in this case, you need to
work very fast.

Evaluating the significance of individuals who made a major political and
social impact is no easy task.

With someone as complex as Idi Amin, summing up his life in a two-minute
radio report written in less than an hour is tough.

My Idi Amin report was first broadcast at 07:30 GMT on Saturday August 16
2003 and since that moment I have always wished that I could have expanded
on its content, as I don't feel that listeners received the full horrific
picture of this man's crimes.

I did mention that Idi Amin presided over one of the bloodiest dictatorships
in African history and that up to 400,000 people were killed under his rule.

I also reported that more were imprisoned and tortured.

I touched upon reports that said he threw corpses to crocodiles and held
"talks" with the decapitated heads of his victims kept in a freezer for the
purpose. He is also accused of cannibalism.

Under Amin's rule, just like Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Uganda plunged into
economic chaos as a result of the expulsions, gross mismanagement and
rampant corruption.

In 1972 he expelled the entire Asian population of Uganda, blaming them for
controlling the economy for their own ends. That was the beginning of the
end for Amin and sent the economy into freefall.

In 1973, US Ambassador Thomas Patrick Melady described Amin's regime as
"racist, erratic and unpredictable, brutal, inept, bellicose, irrational,
ridiculous, and militaristic".

Even today, five years after his death, we still have no idea how many
people lost their lives during this man's brutal regime.

Amin's catalogue of crimes makes horrific reading and I often wonder why so
many people remember just this evil man for his bouts of lunacy, laughing
fits, Scottish kilts and general buffoonery.

His bizarre style of leadership seems to have somehow eclipsed the brutal
crimes he committed, and unlike Hitler or Pol Pot, Amin will probably be
remembered as the "funny guy who was King of Scotland".

Idi Amin never faced justice; he lived out his remaining days at a luxurious
palace in Saudi Arabia.

His name has been added to the growing list of despots and dictators who
literally got away with murder, as we the civilised world watched.

It is a sad comment on the international community's inability to hold
leaders accountable for gross human rights abuses. - Copyright © Famagusta
Gazette 2008

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